How The Music Streaming Boom Is Growing: Outlook From SongCast
As the music streaming industry grows, one player is set to show it can overcome major hurdles to make it boom even faster. Distribution platform SongCast says it is making streaming easier for consumers while championing independent music, paying 100% royalties and avoiding clunky paywalls.
The company’s founder and chief executive Mike Wright is sure his model, with no subscription for consumers and no advertising, is the simplest and best way to grow.
His comments come as distribution companies try different methods to monetize the success of streaming kings and queens - from Justin Bieber to Drake, Ed Sheeran to Adele. Indie artists are also growing as streaming consolidates its position as the driver of music sales. It is now responsible for nearly 60% of all digital revenues, according to the Global Music Reportreleased by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
SongCast has recently launched its own app alongside its longer-standing distribution partnerships with iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, AmazonMP3, Rhapsody, eMusic and MediaNet.
SongCast on a phone
Wright, speaking in an interview, points to the huge potential after ruling out any idea of a paywall for consumers: “That was a big challenge for me in resisting that model. Once you have put up a paywall, you follow with a sign-up form and that slows you down quite a bit.”
Wright also flags up the rise of voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa. “We have seen a huge boom in their streaming because of that. It is evolving to the point where you can say what you want to hear and that song will be played.”
The industry has not yet said much about voice control revenues, but streams may well boom as users try it too with Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Samsung’s developing Bixby.
Wright, 43, moved into technology after being lead guitarist in progressive band Sustain, whose hard rock was compared to Rush and Yes. Wright was initially rejected when he tried to get the group’s albums Through The Void and Breaking Free onto existing digital services. “They basically said ‘you have to go through a distributor, we just don’t work with independent artists ourselves.’ That left me in the position of becoming a distributor or label myself. I started aggressively seeking other artists. I approached iTunes a few months later with 50 bands. They accepted us, and it just snowballed from there, and now we have 20,000 artists.” Ohio-based SongCast has been going for about 10 years. “We have paid out approximately $24 million in artist royalties from music services such as Spotify and iTunes, with roughly a billion streams and more than 100 million downloads.”